Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 6 August 2020

Yemen: UN hails Saudi Arabia’s mediation in peace deal

Government and southern separatists have reached power-sharing agreement, uniting against Iran-backed Houthi rebels

A renewed peace agreement stipulates that all military apparatus must leave Yemen's second city of Aden. AFP
A renewed peace agreement stipulates that all military apparatus must leave Yemen's second city of Aden. AFP

The UN on Thursday praised Saudi Arabia for its efforts in mediating and pushing a power-sharing peace deal between Yemen’s government and the secessionist Southern Transitional Council.

“This is an important step towards the peaceful resolution of the conflict in Yemen, through a Yemeni-led political process under UN auspices," said the UN envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths.

The STC rescinded a declaration of self-rule on Wednesday and vowed to implement the deal, known as the Riyadh Agreement, which was signed in the Saudi capital last November.

Mr Griffiths praised the consensus reached by the two sides and said the initiative was an important step towards a peaceful resolution of the five-year conflict.

The deal aims to reunite the parties in the fight against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels who have seized much of northern Yemen, including the capital, Sanaa.

Saudi Arabia declared on Wednesday that it had proposed a plan to speed up the deal, which calls for a new government to be formed in 30 days and the appointment of a governor and security director for Aden, the official Saudi Press Agency reported.

Shortly afterwards, Yemeni President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi appointed a governor and chief of police in Aden, the interim seat of the government.

Mr Hadi ordered Prime Minister Maeen Saeed to form a new 24-member Cabinet representing north and south Yemen equally and including the STC within the next 30 days.

The renewed agreement stipulates that all military must leave Aden within that time; troops in neighbouring Abyan province should disengage and return to previous positions, and a truce agreed to in June should continue.

The deal was thrown into disarray this year as disagreements between the two sides led to STC fighters seizing control of Aden and clashes breaking out across southern Yemen.

The war between pro-government forces and the rebels has driven millions of people to the brink of starvation, requiring the world’s biggest humanitarian response.

The dispute within the anti-Houthi camp has stalled UN efforts to negotiate a ceasefire and an end to the conflict.

Mr Griffiths and his team have been holding online talks between the warring parties to agree to a permanent ceasefire and a restart to peace negotiations, last held in December 2018.

The UN envoy told the Security Council on Tuesday that peace negotiations could “slip away” if an agreement were not reached soon, leading to new violence and an economic decline.

Updated: July 31, 2020 01:34 AM

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